A promise does many things for companies. First, a great promise builds trust. Second, a great promise shows that a company believes in themselves. Third, a great promise shows that a brand is tested and true. And fourth, a great promise shows that companies care about the consumer.
Here are a few of the best promises and guarantees available to consumers, today:
Geico’s promise: “15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on car insurance.”
BMW’s promise: “The Ultimate Driving Machine”
Nike’s promise: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
Filson’s guarantee: “We guarantee every item made by Filson. No more, no less. We believe in our products and stand by the quality of workmanship, craftsmanship and materials in each one. We guarantee the lifetime of each item against failure or damage in its intended usage.”
Lands’ End guarantee: From sheets to slacks, if you’re dissatisfied with any item, simply return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price. We mean every word of it. Whatever. Whenever. Always. But to make sure this is perfectly clear, we’ve decided to simplify it further: Guaranteed. Period.”
Costco’s guarantee: The warehouse club, which has one of the most liberal return policies of any mass merchant, says: “100% satisfaction guaranteed. We guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell with a full refund. We will refund your membership fee ($55) in full at any time if you are dissatisfied.”
Hampton Inn’s guarantee: “If guests aren’t completely satisfied, they are not expected to pay for the night.”
Those are some great promises and guarantees, right? These brands definitely know what makes consumers take notice. These promises make me want to buy more products from these companies. But, even more than these promises and guarantees is the follow-up. Do these companies live up to their hype? The only way to find out is to give them a try. When companies are great from the beginning that can definitely build loyalty, but what happens when their promises don’t live up to their promises? What happens when these companies let you down? It’s a big deal.
Of course, the alternative is for companies to not promise anything, or to aim low. Sure, I can promise that my business is always open when I say it will be, but there must be more than this. You can call Comcast, DirecTV, Bank of America, and AT&T most hours of the day, but in most cases, their service is anything but desirable. Sure, they’re open, but it’s hard to speak to a live person who knows exactly what you need.
So, what sets great companies apart from mediocre ones? It’s not only the initial experience, but the follow-up experience that makes the difference. People are looking for a remarkable experience both initially, and when a product falls flat. How companies are there for consumers when the experience doesn’t live up to the expectation is what builds relationships with brands.
We can see that the initial experience doesn’t matter quite as much to consumers. This is why online sales soar when there are screaming deals. Get the transaction correct and ship what I need to my doorstep. Sure, there are those of us who still like face-to-face interaction with people, but online sales are capitalizing where there are opportunities to do quick transactions. People don’t hold relationships with the people who work at local businesses near as much as they used to when they can get the same thing shipped to their door at the fraction of the price. The importance placed on personal relationship can sometimes be overlooked, but it doesn’t have to be. Products and services that can only be done through personal interaction warrant premium pricing and premium service. (Be thinking about how you can apply this to your own business.)
So, how can brands exceed in a time where there are too many choices already? Give a great promise, and then make yourself even better by over delivering. Exceeding expectations is the best way to build relationships with consumers. On the contrary to what a lot of people say, a brand should NEVER underpromise. When this happens, the door will never be opened in the first place.